Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ‘Know Before You Owe’

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced the Know Before You Owe project, “an effort to combine two federally required mortgage disclosures into a single, simpler form that makes the costs and risks of the loan clear and allows consumers to comparison shop for the best offer.”
The CFPB has posted prototypes on its website with an interactive tool to gather public input about the designs.
View the mortgage disclosure prototypes:

“Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most Americans will ever make. The Know Before You Owe project is about giving consumers upfront, easy-to-understand information that helps them compare different mortgage offers and find the one that’s best for them,” said Elizabeth Warren, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB.  “The current forms can be complicated and difficult for consumers to use.  They are also redundant and can be costly for lenders to fill out.  With a clear, simple form, consumers will be in a better position to answer two basic questions: Can I afford this mortgage and can I get a better deal somewhere else?”

Current federal law requires that mortgage loan applicants receive two documents – the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) mortgage disclosure and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Good Faith Estimate – within three days of application.  The current forms are two pages and three pages long, respectively.  While they are intended to convey basic facts about home loans to help consumers comparison shop, these forms have overlapping information and complicated terms that can be difficult to understand.

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